A new football academy aims to give West Sussex’s best young footballers a leg up into the big-time.
Coaches Jamie Howell and Adam Hinshelwood have joined forces to set up All Star Soccer training sessions in this part of the county following the success of a similar operation in Eastbourne.
They are convinced West Sussex’s shortage of professional clubs makes it tough for promising young players to find a route into the game.
Their first few sessions at Arun Leisure Centre in Felpham have been well-attended and now they’re looking into running elite coaching alongside their regular get-togethers.
Howell, joint manager at Bognor, and his brother-in-law Hinshelwood, new manager at Selsey, say a big difference between their academy and pro clubs’ centres of excellence is that they are happy for youngsters to keep on playing each weekend for their local clubs week in week out.
Howell is an A licence coach while Hinshelwood is working to complete his UEFA B qualification.
“There’s an awful lot of good players in this area who would have no real chance of playing at a high level,” said Howell.
“There are those who, if they didn’t think they were going to make it to a pro club, would fall out of love with the game.
“Our aim is to provide a stepping stone between local kids’ teams, who have been very supportive of our venture, and the next few levels.
“We’re passionate about Sussex and about the young footballing talent it possesses. We want to nurture it and give good players a chance to shine.”
At present, sessions are for seven to ten-year-olds on Mondays and older players on Wednesdays and include basic ball skills, technical work and even advice on what is expected of you as a senior footballer.
“We hope some will go on to pro clubs – others might be the Bognor players of the future. It’s a long-term project and can’t br rushed, but we’re excited about it,” Howell added.
They are aiming to set up a development squad, and matches against counterparts from Crystal Palace and Chelsea are in the pipeline.
For more on the academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.allstarsoccer.biz and look for ‘Wsx news’.